Act 1: Prehistory, the Cold War, the Space War
The planet Atera is a small, blue green planet orbiting a pale yellow star, itself orbited by two large moons: The Twin Eyes of Loz, the Goddess of War. These moons, pale white and gleaming in the skies of Atera, were the heralds of war and blood.
Their tidal patterns, complex and extreme, would flood areas, then open up new land routes. They would change the topography of whole regions in a short decade and bring the many tribes of Atera into contact with one another. The Ateran people were a lizardlike people, bipedal, tailed, with slitted eyes and aquatic bent. They could swim as well as walk, and their bodies were tough and flexible.
With spear and blowgun, the Aterans fought. They fought for land, for the Gods, for simple brutal pleasure.
With bronze sword and shield, the Aterans fought. They fought for food, for mineral wealth, for slaves
With gunpowder and lines of battle, the Aterans fought. For republics, for monarchies, for spices and for trade routes.
With the coming of their tenth millennium, the Aterans had formed into two coalitions, both poised to unleash the newest and most deadly weapons onto one another: Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
The Northern Coalition (NC) and the Southern World Order (SWO) stood in this uneasy peace, even as the first Ateran stepped on the Moon.
It was only a short time before the war denied on the ground began in space.
In the vacuum between the planets, Ateran blood crystallized and starships were pulped by cannon shells and laser blasts. The weapons had changed, and the field of battle had changed, but the simple truth of war had stayed the same: Young Aterans were the ones who fought and the ones who died.
It was then that two inventions came to the fore, inventions that would completely change the field of battle. One was the K.T. Shield, a device that could ward off deadly energy attacks and make a ship invisible (for short periods of time) and the other was the Mass Drive, a device that could allow a starship to bridge massive distances in the blink of an eye.
With these, the SWO triumphed and for the first time in ten thousand years, the Ateran people were at peace.
Act 2: Colonization, Martial Law, the Collapse
The first Mass Drive capable starships were scout vessels, exploring nearby systems for life. They found rocks. Rocks and lifeless planets, incapable of supporting anything. But then they found them. A string of six livable planets, in six star systems, spread in a crescent constellation called The Arm of Kala, the Goddess of Peace.
The Outer Colonies were created and war came once more. The Colonies seethed with rebellion, and the Southern World Order reacted as anyone would expect: They cracked down. Rebellion was crushed and the Colonies were placed under martial law.
It was then that the Collapse came.
The Ateran planet, like many others, has a magnetosphere. And like many others, the magnetosphere periodically shifts its polarity, temporarily dropping and leaving the planet vulnerable.
Normally, this would be a non-issue.
However, the Ateran star happened to have the single largest recorded solar flare at exactly the same time. A wash of radiation bathed Atera. Computers crashed, the network collapsed, countless terabytes of information was lost completely. The economy collapsed. Communication collapsed. Civilization collapsed as well, and a massive rise in cancer deaths resulted.
Chaos. Panic. War. Nuclear fire blossomed as panicked military officers believed they were under attack and fail-safes put in place centuries ago went into effect.
The Atera homeworld was reduced to a dark age.
And the Outer Colonies?
They did Nothing.
Act 3: The Unification War
While Atera fell into chaos and darkness, the Outer Colonies reveled in their new found freedoms. They expanded, they built new cities, new colonies, new ships, new weapons. The first conflicts were minor, over viable planets that surrounded the Six Colonies.
But the Ateran people could never balance on the knife’s edge of peace.
Twenty years had passed since the Ateran Homeworld, Atera, was plunged into darkness and the freedom of the Outer Colonies finally realized. Initially, the shock of the devastation on Atera was both overwhelming and a relief. On one hand, trade with Atera and the Outer colonies was booming. Many raw materials were available in abundance upon the String of planets in the Arm of Kala that were not so easily obtained upon Atera. On the other hand, the Outer Colonies were finally free of the rule and oversight of Atera.
Atera was practically uninhabitable compared to the planets of the Outer Colonies, Kali, Bi Xiu, Ashiesha, Pascia, Rohini, and Mot. Atera was an ever changing world of extreme tidal patterns and changing topography that made life in general a rather harsh reality. Even so, a sort of stubborn allegiance to Atera had developed in the years leading up to the collapse by it’s inhabitants. This illogical reasoning got to the point that the “Mudders” (as they were referred to by the people of the Outer Colonies) had developed an unhealthy dislike for the “Spacers”, and vice versa. This disdain was of course not enough to halt trade between the Outer Colonies and the Southern World Order (renamed simply to “The Order”, after control of Atera had been fully asserted by the SWO), but it did intensify relations.
Some time after the initial rebellion of the Outer Colonies had been successfully quashed by The Order, relations and regulations finally relaxed to a level of uneasy peace. The Outer Colonies still governed themselves but with a modicum of “Order Oversight”. This “oversight” was more superficial than tangible, but it allowed The Order to exude an air of control over the known galaxy.
Then the collapse came. Immediately, life on Atera, as they had known it, halted. Electronics of any kind were rendered useless and the people of Atera received a (in many cases) lethal dose of radiation. Trade ships from the Outer Colonies observed the chaos from afar, but regardless of any protests to the contrary, the collapse was seen as a net positive for the Outer Colonies. They almost universally agreed to not interfere with what was happening on Atera.
Suddenly they were free to do as they wished, and each colony in turn flourished under independent rule. An interplanetary council, known as the Federation of Kala, was formed to unite the colonies under a common set of laws and trade agreements. This agreement lasted for decades without incident, but then the exploratory ships of Bi Xiu bumped into the Xenos.
The Xeno planet (Designated “Nu-Gua” by the astronomers of Bi Xiu) was situated in the habitable zone of a pale yellow star known as “5313 Lacertae”. The system consisted of three planets, two of which were gas giants. Nu-Gua itself was accompanied by 3 tiny moons in stable orbits. Of all the potentially habitable worlds discovered thus far, Nu-Gua was widely considered the best hope for colonization. some 58% of it’s surface was covered with liquid water, and it’s atmosphere was estimated to be composed of oxygen and nitrogen, with trace amounts of carbon dioxide and argon.
The exploratory ship commissioned by Bi Xiu was a large cruiser known as the Celestial Maiden. Leftover from the war with Atera and retrofitted for long voyages to distant worlds in hope of finding habitable planets. On approach to Nu-Gua, the observation deck of the Celestial Maiden reported sightings of potential cities and irregular formations upon the planet’s surface.
As the Celestial Maiden drew closer to Nu-Gua, the observation deck reported satellites orbiting the planet. It was decided to attempt to make first contact, and a high orbit of about 117km from the surface of the Nu-Gua was established. Attempts using the standard forms of laser communication were met with no reaction initially, but the captain aboard the Celestial Maiden, being a patient man, decided to wait in orbit for a response.
The Celestial Maiden never saw it coming. When the ship had attempted communication via laser, the people of Nu-Gua saw it as an act of aggression and responded in kind. Fired from the opposite side of the planet and slingshot around Nu-Gua’s largest moon, the 47 kiloton nuclear warhead practically incinerated the Celestial Maiden.
Many weeks went by without any communication from the Celestial Maiden. A scout was organized and outfitted to visit Nu-Gua. The scout ship was able to get in and out, undetected, and reported finding scattered wreckage believed to be the ill fated Celestial Maiden.
The Federation of Kala met in an emergency session and unilaterally declared war upon Nu-Gua.
Opening hostilities were drawn out longer than originally expected, but the Xenos were defeated with relative ease and occupation was established upon Nu-Gua. Here the paths of each colony diverged. The colonies of Kali, Bi Xiu, Ashiesha, and Pascia, seething with malice and hatred, pushed for all out genocide. The colonies of Rohini and Mot pushed for a more measured approach; one of benevolence and instruction in the belief that the Xenos didn’t truly understand the gravity of what they had done.
The Xenos were in a booming modern age and had achieved spaceflight only a little more than a century previously. Their weapons, crude projectiles by Ateran standards, were still deadly and effective. Their primary method of communication over long distances was the extremely slow and rather archaic practice of using radio waves.
The Xenos themselves were a hideous race. Bare skinned and bi-pedal. Unsharpened teeth and no claws. In hand to hand combat, a Xeno stood practically no chance versus an Ateran’s scaled hide and clawed limbs. There was obvious intelligence and this is the quality that the colonies of Rohini and Mot seized upon in their arguments, saying: “If they can be taught and brought into modern times, by Ateran standards, then they should be.”
The other colonies did not agree and began pre-emptively bombarding the planet’s surface. Troops landed and began systematically exterminating the Xenos. This prompted the colonies of Rohini and Mot to spring into action and land troops of their own while waging war in space above the planet and effectively blockading Nu-Gua.
The Federation of Kala once again met in emergency session and summarily ejected the colonies of Rohini and Mot from the Federation while simultaneously declaring war and suspending all trade with the rogue colonies. With the might of the Federation bearing down upon them, Rohini and Mot were hard pressed to hold the blockade and eventually were forced to retreat to the far side of the planet. The armadas in space achieved a virtual standstill while their troops engaged each other on the planet’s surface. Throughout this time, the colonies of Rohini and Mot formed what they termed the “Loz Alliance”. The Loz Alliance sought out the the beleaguered Xenos and entered peace talks. A treaty was formed and in exchange for help versus the Federation of Kala, they would have their independence from colonial rule. To renege on this treaty meant certain extermination.
The Xenos turned out to be exceptionally gifted with the ability to learn new technologies. The armies of Nu-Gua’s citizens were turned in full force against the Federation of Kala. Even with this additional help, the Loz Alliance was hard pressed and steadily lost ground, until a group of courageous Xeno commandos gave their lives in a successful attempt to plant a fusion bomb in the powerplant fields erected by the Federation of Kala. As their power levels dropped, the forces of Kala found themselves losing ground to the Loz Alliance.
Chapter 1: Incursion!
The armies of the Federation of Kala have been dealt a serious blow, but they are still a serious threat. The power fields allowed them to maintain a stranglehold on this sector, but their destruction has created an opening for us.
One of our Nuclear Powerplants has been overrun by enemy forces. It is the only powerplant in this sector and an Overseer unit is not available to construct more. It is crucial that you reach the powerplant and protect it from destruction.
Enemy forces are aware of the powerplant’s existence and location, but are choosing to use it as bait to lure our meager forces into an ambush. Our only advantage is that they have underestimated the size of our remaining forces in this sector. While they are not large in number, it is significantly more than they will be expecting. Even so, you will need to exercise caution. Remember, these are the only units that we have available to us until an Overseer unit arrives. Exercise caution.
Chapter 2: Enemy Outpost
Our scouts have found the enemy’s main operations outpost in this sector. Their forces have been drawn off by our counter-attacks on other fronts, providing us with a limited window within which we may be able to destroy the outpost, and the factory responsible for fabricating all of their forces in this area.
We still do not have an Overseer unit available for you to use, but we have gathered as much firepower as we can muster on such short notice. You will have an assault tank available to you. It is capable of dealing heavy damage to base defenses and structures, but cannot stand up to anti-armor skirmishers. You cannot hope to defeat the enemy without it.
Chapter 3: Aerial Assault
Excellent news! Our efforts here on Nu-Gua have been progressing at a fast pace, much in part due to your achievements. The Federation of Kala has been pushed back so far that the surface troops are having to rely on cover from their ships in geosynchronous orbit for protection from our advancing ground forces. We have reports that the enemy is massing a huge aerial assault in which they hope to crush our advance.
We cannot advance at this time as we are not strong enough to support both the battle in space as well as the battle on the ground, and we must achieve space superiority before we can advance further.
Your mission is to prepare for the coming onslaught. If our reports are to be believed, you will be facing a nearly endless onslaught of bombers, gunships and fighters. You must hold the line and defend our skirmish line. If the enemy is able to break through then our ground forces will be nearly helpless to defend themselves.
You will be given the use of an aerial engineer for this mission. You only have one, so do not lose it! It is possible that you may have to deal with some ground forces, but any advances by ground forces are likely to be very light.
Chapter 4: Against the wall
We’ve almost done it! The Federation of Kala is reeling from our relentless assault both on the ground and in space! The Federation seems to be making a last stand and look as though they are poised for an evacuation if they are to fail.
Your mission is the eliminate the enemy base in sector G-14. It is heavily defended and bristling to the teeth with offensive firepower. Exercise caution. Reports have come in stating that portions of the enemy base are inadequately covered with anti-air flak turrets. Unfortunately, we have no more details than that. It is recommended that you send some scout drones to test the aerial defenses.
Chapter 5: Evacuation
The Federation is in full retreat! Their position in space is regrettably well fortified and we cannot press them any further. On the ground the federation is mass producing hover drone bombs and using them to cover their retreat. Press forward and take out the production facilities so that we can push the Federation of Kala out of this system for good!
Hoverbombs are extremely fast and agile, proceed with caution as their explosion radius is quite large. The bombs are armored, so be sure to use units with bonus damage vs armored.
Meanwhile, closer to home…
The forces of the Federation of Kala had been soundly routed. Nu-Gua was free again and the people of Nu-Gua flourished under their newfound bond with the Loz Alliance.
The confrontation in space far above Nu-Gua was later considered to be one of the strangest of the entire war. Very few lives were lost due to combat between ships. The Federation of Kala and the Loz alliance were hesitant to waste Ateran lives with reckless abandon. The Federation considered Xenos to be acceptable collateral damage and would kill them without reason and simply because they were not Ateran. The Federation still seethed with hatred over the loss of the Celestial Maiden. That the ship had been destroyed as a result of miscommunication (acknowledged and renounced retroactively by the Government of Nu-Gua) did not matter. In the eyes of the Federation it was blood for blood, and in this case that meant the complete and utter destruction of the Xenos.
Back in the colonies of the Federation of Kala, the council was in hot debate amongst themselves with regards to warring against their own kind in lieu of the Xenos. The colonies of Kali and Pascia pushed for a ceasefire and peacetalks to begin between the Loz Alliance and the Federation of Kala, reasoning that Nu-Gua could be dealt with in due time.
The colonies of Bi Xiu and Ashiesha argued that the Loz Alliance had turned their backs on the Federation and their own brethren, all for the “savages” of Nu-Gua and deserved a traitor’s death. Bi Xiu’s foremost ambassador scorned Kali and Pascia for their marked restraint in the space battle above Nu-Gua, while the ambassadors of Kai and Pascia were quick to renounce Bi Xiu’s thirst for blood at any cost.
Eventually it was decided that the Loz Alliance must be subdued and subjected to rule under the Federation of Kala. A huge invasion fleet was dispatched to the world of Mot.
During this time the Loz Alliance had been busy instructing the Xenos in the ways of new technology and it’s usage. Nu-Gua was extremely rich in natural resources, more so than any two planets belonging to the Ateran colonies. Production facilities were erected on the planet and new ships were fabricated en-masse. The people of Nu-Gua were taught Ateran history, culture, and introduced to the Ateran way of life. In turn the Xenos taught the Aterans of the Loz Alliance the ways of Nu-Gua. They were taught of the various clever inventions of Nu-Gua that had resulted as an attempt to ease their way of life. The Ateran were introduced to the extensive military history of the Xenos. Many civil wars had occurred throughout the centuries.
Initially there had been five main republics of Nu-Gua. These republics operated in the peace wrought by the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. Eventually war broke out that engulfed the entire planet. After a very violent and bloody ten year struggle, the Xenos were united under a one world government and peace and balance were once again restored. Research into space travel was heavily invested in, and in 15 short years, the Xenos stepped foot on their largest moon. This achievement only served to fuel the desire of the Xenos to reach the stars. However, throughout all this, the Xenos retained their innate violent tendencies and innate fear of the unknown.
When the Celestial Maiden had hailed Nu-Gua, it had not even been previously spotted. The attempted laser communication was seen as an imminent attack or perhaps a test of the planetary defensive systems. The government panicked and in an emergency council session, voted with a scant majority to respond with a nuclear missile.
Through the combined remorse on the part of the Xenos and their shared enemy, Nu-Gua and the Loz Alliance developed a strong bond of understanding and tentative trust.
Spies among the colonies of the Federation of Kala found out about the invasion fleet within hours of it’s departure. Emergency communications were sent to the colonies of Rohini and Mot, as well as to the Loz Alliance forces on Nu-Gua. The government of Nu-Gua immediately pledged their full backing and support. As it was, by the time the combined forces of the Xenos and the Loz Alliance arrived, the planet of Mot was under heavy assault. The war had begun in earnest.